With former Vice President Joe Biden set to enter the 2020 fray on Thursday, the Democratic field contesting the right to challenge President Trump for the White House next year will be a record 20.
Hundreds file each cycle, but only a sliver receive sustained media attention, raise significant amounts of money and are included in televised debates.
For the 2020 Democratic presidential nod, 20 people can be listed as viable contenders, a Washington Examiner analysis found. That included not only fundraising and poll results, but whether television networks have devoted airtime for coverage.
So, spiritual guru Marianne Williamson makes the grade, since CNN recently broadcast an hourlong segment of a town hall-style show with her. Same with entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has never held elected office. Even former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska counts. Gravel was once a serious player in national politics, having gained noteriety — critics say infamy — for reading portions of the Pentagon Papers, about the origins of the Vietnam War, into the public record.
Mirimar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam is struggling for media attention and has shaky finances that prevented him from paying campaign staff but is included in most lists of candidates.
In the 1972 race, more than a dozen Democrats ran to take down Republican President Richard Nixon. That honor — or dishonor, considering he lost 49 states — went to Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota.
The next cycle proved much more fruitful for Democrats, as a similarly large bunch vied for the White House. Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter emerged from political obscurity to beat a scrum of better-known rivals and then Republican President Gerald Ford that fall.
And just last election, businessman Donald Trump claimed the Republican nomination, and eventually the presidency, after besting a swath of more established politicians. That field included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and many others with decades of experience in public service.
The 2020 Democratic field is even larger. Historians and political commentators have described the state of the race as “unique,” “exceedingly rare,” and “unprecedented” given past events. The stage is already set for a battle over not just the party’s nomination, but for resources and support to buoy their campaigns.
HOUSTON – The groans erupted halfway through Bernie Sanders’ appearance Wednesday at a presidential candidates’ forum sponsored by She the People, a group that aims to drive up voter participation among women of color.
Before an audience of about 1,700, many of them African-American and Hispanic women, the moderator asked Sanders, I-Vt., how he would handle the rise in white supremacy. Sanders spoke of fighting discrimination and running a campaign “to bring our people together around an agenda that speaks to all people” – then returned to a familiar message on universal health care.
For many in the audience, that was insufficient. “Come on!” a woman shouted from the back, as others began to jeer and boo.
The reception reflected Sanders’ struggle to win support from minority voters, a problem that dogged his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Sanders has taken steps since to improve his outreach, including meeting with black leaders and talking more frequently about the difficulties facing minorities, but Wednesday’s event suggested the senator still faces challenges.
Sanders at one point mentioned his long record on civil rights, but it did little to mollify the crowd.
.@JoyAnnReid: Under an O'Rourke administration, will ICE exist, yes or no?@BetoORourke: "Yes it will, but it will not employ those (deportation) practices that we've seen not just under this administration but under the previous administration."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 24, 2019
Recounting how he met his husband via an online dating app, the Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made light of his sexual prudence. “Possibly not the app you’re thinking of,” he quipped earlier this month before an extremely friendly audience assembled by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a clear reference to the gay hookup app Grindr. (Buttigieg met his future husband, Chasten, who has improbably emerged as the most intriguing and popular campaign spouse, on Hinge, which is more oriented to long-term relationships.) In his best-selling memoir, Shortest Way Home, Buttigieg writes, “Other than the same-sex aspect, our first date was something our parents could have recognized as typical, almost vintage.” The happy couple own a home, have two dogs, and speak frequently of their desire to have children. There is no hint that their relationship is anything other than monogamous.
Pete Buttigieg’s early success in the Democratic presidential primary has prompted scrutiny and rougher treatment from his rivals and the news media, creating new challenges for the rising star and his campaign.
National media outlets are flooding the phone lines of local activists and politicians in South Bend, Ind., to churn out investigative pieces on Buttigieg’s years as the city’s mayor.
Competing Democratic campaigns have taken aim, engaging with Buttigieg over perceived slights on the campaign trail.
After Buttigieg praised Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week for tapping into the anti-establishment sentiment that swept the country in 2016, the Sanders camp ripped the mayor for drawing a comparison between supporters of Sanders and President Trump.
“Come on @PeteButtigieg,” tweeted Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who is Sanders’s national co-chairman. “It is intellectually dishonest to compare Bernie to Trump. Bernie is for giving people healthcare, education, childcare, and more pay. He wants to blow up credentialed elitism — those who reject tuition free college for all.”
Some in Buttigieg’s camp view the flap as evidence they’re on Sanders’s radar.